The countdown to the 5th Annual PA Day is on!
Remember, we will be observing PA Day on Friday, April 13 this year.
Over the next several days, we will highlight AAPA members at various stages in their PA careers.
For today's Member Spotlight, we are featuring Lindsay E. Sinn, PA(ASCP)CM, an OJT who recently retired after almost 40 years as a Pathologists' Assistant.
Name: Lindsay E. Sinn, PA(ASCP)CM
Company: Pathology Reference Laboratory
Location: San Antonio, TX
Years as a PA: Retired in 2017 after 39.5 years as a PA + 2 years in cancer research
"Newly retired, I am reviewing 39+ years of a fabulous career in healthcare. Back in the day, 1978, my training began on the job for The Pathology Center associated with Methodist and Children’s Hospitals in Omaha, NE. At this stage I was most often a diener and, from that beginning, I had the best exposure to human anatomy, disease processes and dissection do’s and don’ts, along with dumping tissue, cleaning buckets for re-use, mixing formalin, and all the other tasks that the MDs did not perform.
Four years later, a simple inquiry to what other Pathologists’ Assistants were doing, led to a job offer with Pathology Medical Services in Lincoln, NE. This position added both forensic and surgical pathology and I was eager to learn more. Again, I was fortunate to have willing hands-on teachers who were able to develop my aptitude for this profession. As a forensic death investigator, in addition to the daily tasks of hospital pathology, I was on-call 24/7 every 3rd week and shared duties with two very capable Pathologists' Assistants. I was never scared of a dead body as I’d grown up in a funeral home, yet the forensic circumstances often surrounding a death, took me by surprise. I was struck by the level of man’s inhumanity to man in the violent cases.
My goal became to help law enforcement apprehend the 'perps' and provide answers for families.
Professionally, forensic pathology afforded me the opportunity to be published and to lecture nationally. It was during this 18-year tenure that I studied my butt off and passed the AAPA fellowship exam! It's where I also came into contact with my first program PA(ASCP)CM graduates—Steve Suvalsky and Marge Daly.
As I approached middle age, I decided I’d best leave the hours of forensic pathology behind. Having the AAPA fellowship enabled me the opportunity to relocate. In Las Vegas, I was a bench-working manager for Pathologists’ Assistants at three hospitals and a reference laboratory for Laboratory Medicine Consultants. I had fabulous bosses once again who taught me the management skills this time. We were able to train some of the finest Pathologists’ Assistants working today while the OJT route was available. Later we served as a clinical training site for the Rosalind Franklin program. After 10 years, I became a statistic, losing my job in a corporate buyout and being replaced with the new company’s own PA manager. Though difficult at the time, I am now grateful as it afforded me the opportunity to find my last position in San Antonio, TX with Pathology Reference Laboratory, who appreciated my skills, knowledge, and ethics.
It IS a small world and this is my favorite PA story. In Las Vegas, our gross room was in the OR dept and we frequently had folks peering in when they saw a specimen on our cutting board near the doorway. One day, a young GI tech stopped and inquired as to what we did with specimens. My PA-in-training explained our profession and we all spoke about how interesting our days were. Fast forward to San Antonio where I’m needing to hire a PA(ASCP)CM and a resume is handed to me that includes the name of the Las Vegas hospital where I’d worked, so immediately my interest was piqued. We brought her in for an interview and when she saw me, still wearing the big red glasses for which I was known, she recognized me from that OR in Vegas! She had recently graduated from the Duke program, having completed her BS and MS after meeting my staff! Shannon was hired and eventually replaced me as manager!
And I can take credit for another protégé as well. Elizabeth Claus was interning one summer at the Nebraska Crime Lab when it was suggested that she meet and observe me during a forensic case. It was this chance encounter that spurred Elizabeth to pursue her Master’s degree in Pathology, becoming a colleague as well as a friend.
I’ve had it all—trainee, surgical, autopsy and forensic pathology, only female in the then all-male field, lecturer, manager, teacher, etc. and through it all, AAPA members have been willing to network, share, advise, teach and support me. I’ve had the privilege of working alongside and learning from both program graduates and OJTs. Hopefully I’ve been able to impart some nugget to them from my 39+ years of experience.
I have retained my membership in the AAPA, currently in the retired status, as I hope to continue those contacts and healthcare education updates that have been the raison d’être for the majority of my life...until I was a first-time bride at 52!"
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